ND Sports Extra: Summer Reads Make Me Feel Fine!

Summer and Reading

I love to read, but honestly, it is getting harder to find the time. Also as a U.S. History teacher, I don’t like to read history during the school year (since that is what I’m doing during the day). So True Crime, some fiction, a good amount of sports, and history generally make up my reading selections. Summer is often a time when many of us find ourselves most missing Notre Dame football, so summer is the ideal time to catch up on some excellent reads on Notre Dame football.  There are literally a ton of excellent Notre Dame books, and some that I don’t really recommend.  So my list here is not definitive nor is it in any particular order.  However, you may find a selection or two that you enjoy and with July fleeting you still have some time to throw one in your luggage or beach bag.

Lou Holtz (With John Heisler) A Championship Season at Notre Dame – The Fighting Spirit.

Lou Holtz has now written several books, some of which I admittedly have not read.  This particular read though is excellent. If you are looking to re-live Notre Dame’s last championship through the eyes of the coach and get a real inside into game preparation, emotions of the team, big moments, etc. this is your book.  At 380 pages it is extremely detailed without being weighty.

George Gekas – The Life and Times of George Gipp.

A hard to find title that was originally published in 1988. I love old history and I love the “Legend of George Gipp”. He easily makes my list as a Notre Dame player I would have loved to have met. I used this book for some of my research for a college paper for my Sports in America class. I wasn’t thrilled with the B or the not comment “not compelling enough”. Young, gifted athlete who has a penchant for extra curriculars dies young…not compelling? I dropped by the professor’s office to dispute my B, then I saw the Michigan State sticker on the door and kept walking. At 219 pages a short read, that is very good.

Timmy O’Neill – Every Play Every Day: My Life as a Notre Dame Walk-on.

Yes, we’ve all seen Rudy but many of us know that Hollywood hijacks any story good or bad to get it ready for the big screen. I love this book because it more accurately depicts the experience of a walk-on player at Notre Dame. I also love the social historian element to the story. History has always been a top-down approach, but here we get the story and experiences of a player who is not at the top of the roster.  At 176 pages an easy and ideal read for the beach.

Lisa Kelly – Echoes from the End Zone (Books 1&2).

A couple of things make Lisa’s books really good. One, I love the perspective of a Notre Dame graduate. Two, I also really enjoy “where are they now stories.” Players may or may not realize this but as fans, we often wonder what happens to them after they graduate, or if they don’t go on to the NFL. I’m really looking forward to the third book, “Triumphs From Notre Dame”. Lisa goes beyond football and gives us insights into the other Notre Dame sports. Both books are over 200 pages making them ideal for summer. Look for book 3 to arrive shortly.

Jim Dent- Resurrection: The Miracle Season That Saved Notre Dame.

I did not read Dent’s book The Junction Boys. That being said, Resurrection is excellent.  I loved Ara Parseghian though, I most remember him as a broadcaster on CBS college football telecasts. The 1964 season is a fascinating thrill ride that while heartbreaking was a harbinger of the “Era of Ara” that awaited.  An enjoyable read at 320 pages.

Like I mentioned previously, summer is fleeting, and we are under 50 days until Notre Dame tees it up against Louisville on September 2nd. So get to your favorite bookstore or library soon!

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